The Hong Kong Telegraph - Schumacher in high speed crash at troubled Saudi GP as Hamilton struggles

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Schumacher in high speed crash at troubled Saudi GP as Hamilton struggles
Schumacher in high speed crash at troubled Saudi GP as Hamilton struggles

Schumacher in high speed crash at troubled Saudi GP as Hamilton struggles

Mick Schumacher suffered an horrendous high speed crash in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday as Lewis Hamilton failed to make it out of the opening Q1 session for the first time in five years after the race went ahead despite an attack on a nearby oil plant.

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Schumacher in his second season in Formula One bounced off the Jeddah street circuit barrier at around 240kph after losing control of his Haas car when clipping a kerb.

Medics were on the scene quickly, lifting him out of the wreckage of his stricken car into an ambulance.

"We've heard that Mick is conscious, out of the car and currently on his way to the medical centre," his team posted on Twitter.

His car was smashed into two, the rear end including engine and gearbox breaking away from the main monocoque and survival cell on impact.

The 23-year-old son of German F1 legend Michael Schumacher was reported to have been able to remove his own gloves as he departed in an ambulance.

Haas later added that Schumacher appeared "physically fine" and had spoken to his mother, Corrina.

In a statement F1's governing body the FIA confirmed that an assessment at the medical centre "revealed no injuries".

It added that Schumacher "has been transferred to King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah, for precautionary checks".

The session was red-flagged after the accident in which the rear of the Haas car was split asunder from the main monocoque and body.

It was the second red flag in the session following an earlier high-speed collision by Williams' Nicholas Latifi in Q1. The Canadian escaped unhurt.

The crash came towards the end of a Q2 session which in a major shock did not feature Hamilton who was knocked out of the first qualifying run for the first time since 2017.

Mercedes' seven-time world champion has 103 poles to his name, but in a major upset will start Sunday's race from towards the rear of the grid.

As Q1 drew to a close Hamilton was languishing in 16th with only the top 15 progressing, but failed to make it out of the drop zone with his last flying lap.

He was knocked out of Q1 in Brazil five years ago after a crash but the last time he failed to progress to Q2 on pace alone was at the British Grand Prix in 2009.

- Race goes ahead -

Hamilton had struggled throughout practice in his 'bouncing' new Mercedes, but new team-mate George Russell appeared to overcome that challenge as he progressed with the fourth-best time.

"I struggled with the balance of the car, not where I want to be," Hamilton told Sky Sports.

"Unfortunately just went the wrong way with the set up."

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc led the times in to Q2 as he maintained his early season form after winning in Bahrain last weekend and again topped the time sheets after Q2 resumed to head in to Q3 as favourite to claim pole.

The Grand Prix weekend went ahead but only after lengthy talks overnight about racing in the aftermath of Friday's missile strike by Yemen's Huthi rebels on the nearby Aramco fuel plant, which ignited a blaze with black smoke billowing across the street circuit.

Team principals, race organisers, Formula One and the ruling body, the FIA, had said they had reached a unanimous agreement for the show to go on, in less than an hour, but it took much longer to convince the drivers.

After around three and a half hours of further talks, they agreed to race.

In a statement on their behalf, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) said "natural human concerns" had caused many to have doubts about taking part.